A Sky Full of Galaxies

The blackness of space is punctuated by bright dots. This image could almost be mistaken for a particularly detailed shot of the night sky as seen from Earth, full of stars. Appearances, however, can be deceptive. This image was taken from Earthʻs southern hemisphere, but the bright dots are not stars — they are galaxies. In fact, the distinctive, ring-shaped galaxy on the right is LEDA 14884. This image was built up using data from the Dark Energy Survey, an ambitious project which mapped hundreds of millions of galaxies across the Universe. This was done using the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), an instrument built by the Department of Energy and mounted at the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. 

Looking at this incredible image, with its thousands of wildly diverse galaxies, it is mind-boggling to recall that only about 100 years ago, most astronomers believed that our Milky Way was the only galaxy in existence. It was not until 1925 that Edwin Hubble, building upon the work of Henrietta Leavitt and Ejnar Hertzsprung, proved that the Andromeda Galaxy must lie beyond the Milky Way, and humanity began to recognize the sheer scope of the Universe.

Credit:

CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF/AURA
Image processing: Travis Rector (University of Alaska, Anchorage/NSF's NOIRLab), Jen Miller (Gemini Observatory/NSF's NOIRLab), Mahdi Zamani & Davide de Martin (NSF's NOIRLab)

About the Image

Id:iotw2110a
Type:Observation
Release date:March 10, 2021, 1:26 p.m.
Size:4000 x 2576 px

About the Object

Name:LCRS B041803.7-391607
Constellation:Eridanus
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.2 MB
Screensize JPEG
160.8 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
188.8 KB
1280x1024
265.3 KB
1600x1200
352.5 KB
1920x1200
408.2 KB
2048x1536
511.9 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):4 19 55.16
Position (Dec):-39° 11' 9.68"
Field of view:11.62 x 7.48 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 0.2° right of vertical


Colors & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
G
474 nmVíctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope
DECam
Optical
R
644 nmVíctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope
DECam
Optical
I
785 nmVíctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope
DECam